Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Two California Papers Cleared to Publish Ingredients of Disputed Spray -- for Now

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Two California Papers Cleared to Publish Ingredients of Disputed Spray -- for Now

Article excerpt

Two California papers, the daily Santa Cruz Sentinel and the alternative Monterey County Weekly are battling a manufacturer over the right to publish the inert ingredients of a controversial spray the state wants to use to eliminate an invasive, crop-eating moth.

The papers maintain their First Amendment right to publish information is at stake, while the bio-pesticide manufacturer, Suterra LLC, says the publications are violating trade secrets involved in formulating the spray with the brand name CheckMate OLR-F. Suterra has sued both papers to block publication of the ingredients, and the Monterey County Weekly has sued Suterra for trying to prevent publication.

The inert ingredients were first published in late September by the Sentinel, which said it received them from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The California agriculture department, which began the spraying program, has refused to disclose the list of ingredients, but said they are not harmful to humans or the environment.

The ingredients include polymethylene polyphenyl isocyanate (PPI), which has been linked to respiratory problems. …

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